Episode Title: "Masquerade"
Writer: Jim Adler
Director: Paul McCrane
Previously on "Vegas:"
This week on "Vegas," it was the case of the deranged band leader and the big bad spider as Sheriff Ralph Lamb (Dennis Quaid) and company investigated the death of a showgirl while his son Dixon (Taylor Handley) cowered in fear of a hairy arachnid.
Maybe it’s the "simpler" time period "Vegas" is set in that allows the show to get away with a silly subplot involving a spider on the loose at the police station. At this point in the series, the character of Dixon Lamb has existed largely to provide comic relief. Aside from the occasional argument with his sheriff father over his marginalized role on the force, Dixon’s spent most of his screentime chasing skirts and running from spiders.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing as this episode allowed Carrie-Anne Moss’ character, Assistant D.A. Katherine O’Connell to get her hands dirty. Up until now, we haven’t really seen Katherine take an active role in any of the investigations, instead choosing to spend time rubbing elbows with Vincent Savino’s wife. When Katherine learned that murdered showgirl, Audrey Ballad was a rape victim, she developed a personal interest in the case. However, Ralph thought Katherine’s dogged determination to aid in the investigation showed a lack of "control." His little heart-to-heart with Katherine about their childhood gave us a nice window into the relationship between these two. And it also allowed Katherine to explain her motivation when she revealed that a family member was raped and she did nothing about it.
Hopefully, Katherine’s assist in this case isn’t a one-time thing. Her character has been given little to do aside from providing a potential love interest for Ralph. Of course, the sheriff was worried about Katherine putting herself in danger and don’t you know it, the band leader/serial killer nearly strangled her to death when she paid him a visit.
As for the case itself, it was definitely a sign of the times as we saw a young woman try to make her Broadway dreams come true through somewhat unsavory methods, like posing in a girly magazine. Her deacon father showed little remorse for turning his back on his daughter when Katherine broke the news of her death. And to make matters worse, she was also a lesbian, though she kept it quiet according to a former girlfriend, which meant the band leader’s advances weren’t well received.
Over at The Savoy, Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis) wooed a high roller only to learn that he was the "whale" when Texas oilman, Clay Stinson took the casino for a million bucks. In an interesting parallel to Ralph and Katherine’s situation, Vincent tried to protect Mia (Sarah Jones) from Stinson who showed an immediate interest in The Savoy’s countroom manager. But like Katherine, Mia saved the day in the end when she took Stinson up on his "Indecent Proposal," besting him in a head’s up poker game. Beautiful, sharp and tough, Mia Rizzo is "Vegas’" most intriguing character. I can’t wait to see what happens when she gets closer to Jack.
And finally, we saw soon-to-be-sworn-in mayor, George Grady (Gil Bellows) caught between Savino and Sheriff Lamb. Though he’s essentially Savino’s man, Grady wants the sheriff’s respect. There’s no way any pawn of the mobster’s is going to get along well with the sheriff. Plus, they all pretty much turn up dead as Sheriff Lamb plainly told Grady.
As a whole, "Masquerade" gets a thumbs up for boosting Carrie-Anne Moss’ role and giving us a little more insight into her relationship with Dennis Quaid’s character. The little parable about letting a girl take care of herself that played at The Savoy might also mean we’ll see more of Mia Rizzo taking care of business. And once she becomes tangled up with the sheriff’s brother, that "business" should get very interesting.